Jubilee Diner

Serenity and  I have both felt led to do more ministry directly out of the RV.  It seems daunting sometimes to traverse city streets with a 38ft. motor home and three children wondering if we are “there yet,” but it seems more natural, and in a lot of ways much easier: everything we need is readily accessible, plates, cups, silverware, refrigerator, and the toilet for Eva who is still potty training.

We decided to drive downtown, which is less than a mile away from where we are parked, and cook some food right out of the RV, maybe put out the awning.  Serenity and I would work as short order cooks with cheeseburgers, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and PB&J on the menu.  We brought some fruit, and a bunch of Mountain Dew, because as one of the street fellas we met said to me, “you gotta do the Dew man, it’s the best stuff out there.”  Serenity came up with the name (Jubilee Diner), we made signs with all of our menu items listed with “free” for the price and headed downtown Tampa.

We were held up a few minutes as we waited for a police officer to move out of the spot we planned to park in, he was citing a couple of homeless for sleeping in their car.  We have heard of some nasty things about the Tampa / St. Petersburg police, and I actually watched a YouTube video of the St. Pete police using knives to destroy the tents of the homeless under a bridge – seriously, is that legal, to destroy someone’s property because they are breaking the law (trespassing and sleeping in a public space, basically being homeless was their crime).  Anyways, we waited for the officer to move on and then pulled in to his spot.  I prayed off and on the entire time that we would find favor from the police, and that even more, no police officers would come by – none did!  Praise God!

We ended up feeding around 50 men and women, and were able to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our actions, and our words.  As I said to a group of men as they waited for me to BBQ their cheeseburgers, “Jesus preached a message of love and redemption, but He rarely did before he filled their tummys, or met some other basic need.”  Serenity was able to pray for a woman named Valerie who had just been released from prison and had no idea where to go, let alone who to put her hope in.  Serenity guided her in the right direction.  I met a guy named Arthur who had moved to Tampa from Atlanta two years ago to help his mother out who was “on a fixed income.” He ended up falling on hard times and was having difficulties supporting his family and his extended family.  He headed down to the Salvation Army to get lunch, but missed the cut off to get inside in time.  He walked out of the SA as I walked by offering a free BBQ just up the road.  Arthur smiled a big toothy grin and then said, “the Lord works in mysterious ways.”  Arthur was right, “His ways are not our ways.” (Isaiah 55:8).

I think the name Serenity came up with for our diner, Jubilee Diner, was perfect.  I have long called what we are doing a “voluntary redistribution of wealth.”  The biblical Jubilee was exactly that.  It was a law laid out in Leviticus 25 that called for the people of Israel to forgive others of their sins, slaves and prisoners would be set free, and debts would be forgiven.  The New Covenant, Christ, is the New Jubilee, He came to forgive us our sins, set the slaves and prisoners free and forgive us our debts.  We owe nothing, the balance has been paid, everything on His menu is “free”.  Our little journey downtown today hopefully ushered in a little bit of Jesus, who lives inside us.  Please pray for Valerie, Arthur, and the rest of the men and women we served today that Christ’s love and hope will be revealed to them more and more each day.

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5 Responses

  1. Just know you guys are always in our prayers! The Ministry you guys have is awesome! God bless!

  2. Well, gosh, are you taking applications for cooks or waitresses? I know this family of 5 that is asking alot of questions about what God’s got in His plan… the Jubilee Diner sounds like a good start to me?

    we miss you guys and are still sorting out the whispers… I was brought to tears as I read the incredible testimony of how good our God is to you, to Carrie, to Valerie, to Arthur… and to the Kelly’s. He is an Awesome God!!

    praying for you and loving you deeply!

  3. Hey beautiful ones,
    We are enjoying your stories. We too have been helping create meals for Linda Swenwold that cannot fix her own and the Cates. Brad has had surgery and now Nevelle is in the hospital as she had a stroke yesterday.
    We will have a meal with Joel and Cherice before they go back to Princeton. We are taking food over for that too.
    Food is a good way to help relationships. Humans like food and what it means to them.
    Way to go with your Jubilee Dinner!! I am sure that the recipients appreciated it! It was fun watching you shop!
    love, Dad

  4. I’ve been reading your new blogs and I’m sooo excited about how God is working through you guys. It gives me shivers. I love you and miss you guys. You’re in my thoughts and prayers a lot!

  5. Praise God for your work. I hope the people God puts in your path will receive the Word. I hope we will be able to hook up with you guys in the future! Keep following the Son!

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